City of Albuquerque on standby to house asylum seekers

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Asylum seekers for months had been coming in and out of Albuquerque in busloads–and after making major arrangements to accommodate them, the city is hardly seeing any at all stay here. City officials say it’s all due to changes made by the Trump administration.

In April, Expo New Mexico took KRQE News 13 on a tour of the 4-H dorms made available for asylum seekers. But four months later, they’ve yet to be used.

“Unfortunately, by the time we were able to get the Expo set up with our donations and bedding and everything that it needed, the numbers had slowed down so dramatically there was not a need for it,” said Mariela Ruiz-Angel, Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.

Ruiz-Angel said it all has to do with what has happened in the White House.

“Since the ‘Remain in Mexico’ went into effect, in probably early May it had transitioned into the border of El Paso, so at that time we began to see less and less individuals,” she said.

There were so many asylum seekers coming to Albuquerque earlier in the year, that city council approved $250,000 in funding for housing, feeding and caring for them. That money, has also, barely been touched.

“It’s been set aside as needed. We did hire a coordinator, but it’s been very very, very small amounts that she’s done, and it’s mostly the coordination that my office would have been doing,” said Ruiz-Angel.

For now, the city remains on standby along with all the groups wanting to help the asylum seekers.

“I believe we are probably on a low right now that will not open up until we see some changes from the administration side, unfortunately,” she said.

Expo New Mexico does not get any of the city’s set aside money. The facility also can’t house any seekers until after the State Fair, but once that is over, they say they will be ready to take asylum-seekers if the current situation changes.

The city says they are seeing some asylum seekers coming through the airports, but none of them are being housed here.

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